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Is Ferguson the Benghazi of the Left?

A reader posts:

I have a friend who works for one of the networks in the news division. Monday night we were at a game, and he kept checking his email. When asked, he said he was ‘race war to begin.’ And he said it with a certain amount of anticipation, as if to was a football on which he’d placed a bet.

Right now, the media is gorging itself on the Ferguson riots. If it bleeds it leads, and what better way to win those all-important ratings than watching a town burn itself to the ground? Bread and circuses, friends, bread and circuses…

Give it it a week. Ferguson will be yesterdays news and the media vultures will be onto the next scandal. A month from now, no one will remember and no one will care.

Another reader posted yesterday, “Ferguson is the Benghazi of the Left,” a formulation I think is brilliant. What does it mean? It means that for a certain sort of ideologue, a newsworthy event that presents a murky and complex combination of tragedy, stupidity, and fallibility so powerfully confirms a pre-existing narrative that it becomes an obsession. This obsession, which takes on a vivid emotional quality, means that all complicating factors, epistemological and otherwise, that complicate the narrative must be dismissed or suppressed. This obsession is stoked even further by the failure of most people in the country to share it, which, in the mind of the obsessives, only shows that a) there is a conspiracy to conceal the facts from the people, and/or b) the people are too morally corrupt to see what is plain to the ideologues and to share their rage.

The lack of popular outrage may serve as a feedback loop that only redoubles their commitment to pressing the narrative until everybody is sick of it. Even though there may legitimately be something important to the original story — something we ought to be discussing — most people will have dismissed the diehards as axe-grinding cranks.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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